In case you haven’t been paying attention, the basic of the story goes like this. “Angry comic” Schumer was in Greenville for a show. While out jogging/running, she was stopped by a fan. Details of the event differ. She claims he harassed her. He claims she harassed him. The end result has been a very bizarre amount of social media chatter.
While Schumer never specified which Greenville she was referring to, it doesn’t take too long to realize she was speaking about our Greenville. Yeah That Greenville. For a city that has mostly flown above the “South Carolina bad news is the only news” syndrome, this was a kick in the proverbial shin. But while many social media storms quickly spiral out of control, this one has not despite the near constant attention.
The answer is years of good publicity. Public relations is akin to fire insurance. You can’t buy it once your house is burnt to cinders, but a house is easy to rebuild if you have it. Public relations allows a company, person or place to rebuild quickly if they have been out in the community being good stewards.
Greenville has a reputation as a great place. Just ask Ben Stein. We have a good reputation. A great reputation. That is our fire insurance. Now you may be wondering if being a city/community with a great reputation matters in cases like this. It does.
Think of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Part of the reason this story gained national traction is because Flint has a bad reputation. This beleaguered city has been a punchline for decades and when the water literally broke on a bad story, it came flooding in. There were no heroes in Flint. Everyone was blamed.
Now think of the images of last summer’s Baltimore riots. The Charm City has had a mixed bag when it comes to national attention. We all know the story of the massive waterfront redevelopment of the past 20 years. We also know from years of the show “The Wire” painting Baltimore as a very dangerous place. When it exploded, people took attention and quickly made snap judgments. Interesting PR side note, the riots are “officially” referred to as the Baltimore Protests despite at least 250 people arrested, 285 to 350 businesses damaged, 150 vehicle fires, 60 structure fires and 27 drugstores looted.
So what could happen and may still happen in Greenville? Well, there could be the inevitable viral blogs that paint Greenville as a place that is pushy, not nice, rude. However, with the hundreds of stories in the past decade that paint a different picture, it likely won’t happen.